support writer clients who decide to retain our agencies, despite incredible pressure from the
Members Only section of our website.
interests of our writer clients, while pushing against the WGA leadership’s threat to our agency
From the beginning — and through countless townhall meetings and briefings with writer clients
counterproposals in a self-proclaimed “power grab” that favors industry-wide chaos over reason
protects our clients and serves all ATA member agencies.
The WGA has also sounded the alarm on conflict of interest concerns as the parent companies of the largest agencies — CAA and WME — expand their in-house production and distribution activities. The guild maintains that agents' reliance on packaging fees paid by production entities, rather than the standard 10% commission on a client's salary, have skewed their interests and contributed to keeping salaries low for mid- and low-level writers. Showrunners have shared stories of agents vowing to help keep overall writing costs down on packaged shows.
The ATA on Sunday issued its own set of "Standards for Client Representation" that incorporates some of the proposals put forth in negotiations with the WGA last week, before the talks broke down and the WGA implemented its new Agency Code of Conduct.
the Guild. Each time we sat down at the negotiating table, we arrived in good faith and came
sign their newly implemented “Code of Conduct.” It provides clarity and stability for writer
Karen Stuart
clients in the absence of an AMBA, and we encourage our members to adopt them as well. The
The contract battle between the WGA and Association of Talent Agents came to a boil on Friday night, just as broadcast TV’s traditional staffing season is starting. With the broadcast network upfronts only a month away, pilot orders will be made in the coming weeks, which means showrunners will need to fill out writers rooms. Prominent working writers were online during the weekend using the social media hashtag #WGAStaffingBoost to help spread the word about showrunners and their needs for staff writers, among other employment prospects.
those agencies that refused to Guild to terminate relationships with non-franchised agencies, i.e.
However, our resolve has never been stronger. We stand behind the comprehensive
includes our Agency Standards for Client Representation, a Frequently Asked Questions
level of control to dictate how your agency operates and how it regulates the conduct of agents
Although the future may be uncertain, we are ready for it. and compromise.
sight of the fact that the WGA’s Code is unacceptable to all agencies — from those that employ
Scribes communicating with #WGAStaffingBoost and other hashtags were sharing info about showrunner needs and the specialities of writers looking for work. In truth, the traditional spring staffing season is not the end-all hiring window that it once was for junior- and mid-level TV writers given the explosion of original series for cable and streaming outlets that don’t adhere to the same calendar of development and production as network TV.
in all respects, even those reaching beyond the Guild’s own jurisdiction.
We are prepared to continue fighting for a long-term solution that implementing their strategy.
Sincerely,
The WGA flatly rejected our prepared with thoughtful, fair and comprehensive counterproposals.
There’s also a strong possibility that litigation will ensue between the WGA and ATA. Industry insiders will be keenly watching this week for signs of disruption in the normal course of business as hundreds if not thousands of writers terminate their business ties to talent agents.
As the industry awaits the fallout from the split between writers and Hollywood’s established talent agents, many WGA members spent the weekend rallying support for the guild’s position and working to establish online networks to connect writers with prospective employers.
Meanwhile, the Association of Talent Agents vowed to dig in on its opposition to the WGA's reform of the rules that govern talent agents who represent WGA members.
The ATA has balked at the WGA’s effort to ban packaging for agents that represent WGA members. Guild leaders and the negotiating committee assembled to handle the franchise agreement talks with ATA rejected that proposal as woefully inadequate to address their concerns. After a few weeks of tense negotiating sessions, the ATA put forth last week a proposal to share about 1% of packaging fee proceeds with the guild.
Here is the full memo sent by ATA executive director Karen Stuart to the association's members:
Dear ATA Members,
We listened carefully. from their agents in this rapidly changing landscape. We examined our
course of action has thrown the entire entertainment ecosystem into an abyss, affecting
Representation as a voluntary model for agencies to govern their relationship with their writer
website to help you manage operations during this uncertain time.
Those digital efforts are an effort to replace the matchmaking and job-scouting functions typically handled for Hollywood writers by agents. After Friday’s breakdown of negotiations, dozens of writers posted their agency termination form letters online in a show of solidarity with the guild’s position.
That’s the Guild’s plan," ATA executive director Karen Stuart wrote. "Agencies will not be a willing participant to any further chaos. As we embark through unknown territory, we must not lose sight of the fact that the WGA’s Code is unacceptable to all agencies — from those that employ two agents to those employing 2,000." "Their course of action has thrown the entire entertainment ecosystem into an abyss, affecting stakeholders across the spectrum.
counterproposals that we put on the table. We’ll keep fighting as a united front for the best
two agents to those employing 2,000. The Code would provide the Guild with an unprecedented
Executive Director” />
stakeholders across the spectrum.
As you know, on Friday the deadline expired without an agreement between the WGA and ATA.
That’s the Guild’s plan. Agencies will not be a willing participant to any further chaos. Their
And we shared those facts and real hard data with business model. We sought facts and data.
business operations. Meanwhile, we’ve provided a documents toolkit that is available on our
clients, the ATA remains committed to serving all member agencies and is available to help
— we’ve sought and gained a deeper understanding about what writers want, need and expect
April 14, 2019
document, Agency Representation Agreements for use in California and New York, and a Writer
You’ll find the representation agreements and the Rider in the Representation Rider for your use.
Agency Standards for Client Representation spells out how we plan to continue to serve and
While each individual agency will be building their own unique contingency plan for agents and
The toolkit available on our website manage that process together with each member agency.
As we embark through unknown territory, we must not lose
The ATA Board of Directors has adopted the attached set of Agency Standards for Client
We are going to do everything we can to mitigate the damage the Guild has imposed by
A big part of the discord between the WGA and ATA is the dispute over the scope of the WGA's ability to regulate agency conduct as it relates to guild members. The guild asserts that it has plenty of authority through its status as the union that governs all employment matters for its members.
clients and your agencies in that it offers transparency, disclosures, safeguards and choice.

The WGA asserts that taking fees from studios for packaging business and owning production affiliates are conflicts of interests to the agencies’ fiduciary duties to their writer clients. The guild’s previous agency franchise agreement with the ATA, called the Artists’ Managers Basic Agreement, had not been renegotiated since 1976. Hollywood's largest agencies, represented by the Association of Talent Agents, have balked at the guild's Code of Conduct reforms.
The WGA has said it will require its members to fire their agents if they have not agreed to a new "Agency Code of Conduct," which eliminates agency packaging fees and ownership in production companies, after the current agreement expires.
Hollywood writers and agents are scheduled to make a final run at revamping the rules governing how agents represent writers with a potentially chaotic scenario approaching.
On Friday morning, the ATA warned the WGA against authorizing managers and lawyers to negotiate deals for writers in place of agents, telling them that doing so is illegal and that the that ATA views the authorization as "unfair and unlawful competition." It warned of unspecified "appropriate action" if the WGA continues to authorize managers and lawyers to act as agents.” />
Negotiations are scheduled to begin again at 3 p.m. The Writers Guild of America is expected to require a mass dismissal of agents as early as Saturday morning if the guild cannot make a new deal with agents to revamp its franchise agreement. PDT — a mere nine hours before the expiration of the current franchise agreement. The firings could create massive disruption in the entertainment business.
This is a meaningful investment in the writer community," ATA executive director Karen Stuart wrote in a message to members sent late Thursday. The remaining 20% will be invested in industry initiatives and programs to foster and expand inclusion of historically underrepresented writers. "Specifically, agencies will provide a percentage of their back-end profits to writers – 80% of which will be shared amongst a show’s writers not participating in the profits of the series, regardless of which agency represents them.
The sides had been facing an April 6 contract expiration deadline, but an 11-hour gathering on that day led to the WGA agreeing to a six-day delay in the implementation of the code, followed by three negotiating sessions on April 8, 9 and 11.
The ATA offer also included a payment of $6 million over three years to what is described as "an industry-wide fund to foster and encourage inclusion."
Hollywood's major talent agencies announced Thursday night that they have offered to share a portion of the revenue generated from TV and film packaging fees with the WGA.

The WGA has a standard negotiating practice and it is clear they will not bargain in good faith until the clock runs down." "The WGA has up to 35 people in the room," she added. "There is no real exchange of ideas — there are no answers to our questions, many of which your own writer clients are asking you for answers to.
The two sides met on Tuesday, then issued statements blaming each other for the lack of movement towards an accord. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents have made negligible progress during seven negotiating sessions, starting on Feb. No new negotiations have been set.” /> 5.
Young led the 2017 negotiations with the studios when they reached a deal on its master contract with less than an hour prior to expiration.
"For over seven months ATA has offered to meet and engage in serious discussions to address writer’s issues, and we will continue to press the WGA for a real dialogue that promotes questions, answers and serious ideas to solve real, complex challenges," Stuart said. "You may ask, 'What have you all been doing at these seven meetings?'"
If the 43-year-old franchise agreement expires on April 7, the WGA will require members to fire their agents if the agents have not agreed to the new code. Guild leaders have said they expect the code to be approved overwhelmingly.
"We look forward to a time when the WGA stops subjecting our members and the entire industry to 'threats' and moves on to their 'phase three' so that we can get to work on a deal." He said that we’re still in phase two – the threatening phase," Stuart said. "In our March 21 meeting, David Young laid out his three-pronged negotiating strategy.
Members of the Writers Guild of America started voting Wednesday on a "code of conduct" that will enable writers to fire their agents on April 7. Five days of online voting by the 15,000 WGA members began Wednesday morning. The code includes provisions eliminating agency packaging fees and ownership interest in affiliate production companies by CAA, WME, and UTA — demands that the agencies have insisted are not feasible.
The top negotiator for Hollywood agents has told members that the Writers Guild of America will not make a deal until near the April 7 expiration of the franchise agreement.
She singled out WGA West executive director David Young for orchestrating the current situation, which has placed Hollywood on edge over the WGA's threat to require its 15,000 members to fire their agents. Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, issued the missive at mid-day Wednesday and blamed the guild over the lack of progress at the seven sessions, the last of which took place Tuesday.